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Pottery tools are usually manufactured from superior quality, high carbon steel and there are certain steps that should be taken to assure your tools will last for a long time and continue to give top performance throughout their life.

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All high carbon steels will discolor and rust if proper care is not taken.
When not in use the tool should be kept clean and dry.
Even a simple wiping with a cloth will work.

Do not leave your tools soaking in water or slurry for long periods of time.

A light coat of oil should be applied to both the steel and wood handle from time to time.
If your tool, after heavy work, begins to show signs of becoming dulled it can be sharpened.

Do not use a power grinder to resharpen your tool.

This will heat the steel, change the temper and destroy the tool.

Also the use of a file to sharpen a tool is not recommended.

Better results can be obtained by using a whetstone using oil or water and after a few strokes the edge should be back to normal sharpness.
Be careful.
Your tool will take a razor sharp edge and unless caution is exercised when working with a super sharp tool an accident may happen resulting in some nasty cuts.
Your tool loves to work hard!
If you give it a little attention it will reward you in return by giving you a long productive life of satisfactory service.

Kick wheel - a table and bench with large weighted wheel near the ground with a pole extending up to surface of table with a round piece of wood (which is called the head of the kickwheel) attached to pole where the potter places his mound of clay and when the pottery worker kicks the wheel below spins the head and they can begin molding their clay. Most of the kickwheels are electric today.
Kick Wheel

Loop Tools - used to remove controlled amounts of clay from wheel thrown and sculptured pieces.
Pottery loop tool

Modeling Tools - used to slice, cut, smooth, contour and pattern decorating.
Molding tool
Pattern Cutters - used to make decorations for pottery and ceramic items.
Pottery pattern cutterPottery pattern cutter 2

Pot Lift - used for easy removal of pottery items from kickwheel without damage.
Pot lifter

Potters Cutoff Needle - used to cut through and remove the uneven top edge of thrown pottery. The needle makes a clean smooth cut with a minimum of drag.
Pottery needle

Potters knives - used to trim and decorate thrown pottery.
Pottery knife

Potters Ribs - used to open, shape, curve, smooth and trim wet clay on a kickwheel.
Pottery throw ribs2

Pottery Centering Tool - used to center greeware pieces on a pottery wheel.

Pottery Centering Tool

Pug Mill - a mechanical press that clay is pushed through to get all the air out so the pottery worker doesn't have to hand knead it.

Archie Bray Pug Mill

Raku Tongs - usually forty one inches long used to take red hot pottery out of the kiln and place in a container with combustible materials.
Raku TongRaku Tong 2
Ribbon Tool - used for trimming and sculpting clay.
Ribbon Tool
Sanding Block - coarse, medium or fine sand paper attached to 3" x 3" foam rubber square used to smooth surface of greenware.
Pottery Sander

Leveling Screen - 8" x 8" piece of screen used to level bottom of ceramic or pottery by sliding across or turning in circles.
Sanding Screen

Scrappers - used for shaping, smoothing, trimming and also can be used as a squeegee to remove excess water from pottery shapes.
Pottery Scraper

Sculptors Thumb - a hand fitting sculpting tool that duplicates thumb and finger strokes without abrasive wear on the pottery workers hands.
Pottery thumb

Slab Roller - used to flatten clay. It has an adjustment for thickness of the clay slab that is rolled out.
Pottery slab Roller

Slip Trailing Bottle - used for applying casting slips, glazes and engobes onto pottery pieces, producing a raised decorative design.
Slip Trailing Bottle

Sponge Sticks - used to remove water from bottom and side of tall or narrow thrown piece of pottery.
pottery sponge

Spout Maker - used to wrap a slab of clay around to make a spout. When clay stiffens it can be modified and added to a pot or sculpture.
Pottery spout maker

Throwing Ribs - used to shape clay when working on a kickwheel.
Pottery throw ribs

Throwing Sticks - a twelve and a half inch long stick that aids in shaping and compressing deep and narrow necked wheel thrown pieces of pottery.
Pottery throw stickPottery throw stick 3

Japanese Throwing Sticks - aids in shaping and compressing deep and narrow necked wheel thrown pieces of pottery.
Pottery throw stick 2

Trim Tool - used for turning clay or trimming on the kickwheel as well as for slab and hand building work. The blade comes in the five different shapes shown.
Pottery trimmer

Trim Tool - is tapered or angled and is used for trimming greenware or trimming on a wheel as well as for slab and hand building work.
Pottery trim tool

Turning Tool - used to turn clay down when working on a kickwheel.
Pottery turn tool

Tulons - used to burnish and shape clay.
Pottery tulons

Wood Combs - used to texture outside of pottery.
Pottery comb

Wood Paddle - used to shape, hammer and form. They are either rope finish or flat.
Pottery wood paddle

Only a fool tests the depth of the water with both feet.

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Have you ever come up with a good idea while working with your handmade pottery and thought that you would like to share it with others? You have? Well, why not send it to us and we will add it to the tips page for all to see.

Handmade pottery can be a very gratifying hobby that produces fun and satisfying results. For many people it's an enjoyable release that is created by working an inanimate mound of clay into a beautiful work of art that you made through your artistic abilities.

The best way of starting out is to take a few lessons from Youtube. You will probably waste quite a bit in materials when you first get started. Figuring out how to truly make handmade pottery correctly and shape into what you want it to be can be quite an ordeal. The different tools that a normal shop will have can be fun to try. You will soon see which ones you like to use the most and then when you are ready you will know which ones to buy.

With the help of the internet, you can now purchase most if not all of your ceramic and pottery tools and supplies online. We are located far from any well supplied dealers and yet working with reliable ceramic and pottery suppliers online has allowed us to recieve most of our orders within a timely manner.

When you get all set up, just enjoy the hobby and have fun at it. Some people get pretty serious and start selling their creations at craft fairs and small stores, but others just like to create items for themselves, relatives, and friends. Whichever kind of handmade pottery you desire to endeavor, enjoy the hobby and have fun doing it.

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